Applying a Health and Safety Approach to coping with the coming Federal Election

Welcome to election time in Australia for 2019. As that election day fast approaches, we know we can expect the spread of hackneyed phrases such as ‘A Fair Go’, vigorous hand-shaking by professionally-dressed men and women sporting hi-vis on worksites, and federal members of parliament reaching for babies. And yes, with this repetitiveness, it’s understandable that some of you, like some of us, may be feeling a little weary.

So… it got us talking in the office. We are a solutions-based lot. So we wondered, could we apply a health and safety approach to survive the risk of total meltdown during this campaign season??

Before we start to explore survival strategies, let’s first explore what risk is. Simply put, risk is a measure of the possibly that you, or me, might suffer harm from a hazard. So what’s the hazard in this case? Let’s go to step 1.



Straight away, at least one comes to mind, and this sits in the psychosocial area. Not sure what I mean? Let me throw out a few words you and others might be commonly feeling around this time, as we absorb the news media while we try to assess the best option.

Mind-numbing? The rhetoric!

Irritating? The inability to answer a straight question with a straight answer?

Boring? I will let you ***insert*** your own example here.

It really can get you down. All these reactions are indicative of, and linked to, negative wellbeing. And that, my friends, is a hazard certainly worth addressing. So, now that we have identified the hazard, lets apply the risk assessment approach to quantify the severity of the hazard. Bring on step 2.



Likelihood vs consequence. The likelihood? Well, it’s almost certain that each of us will experience at least one of the above-mentioned negative states of mind before May 18. The consequence? Not fatal, but capable of causing severe harm if we are driven to put our collective boot through our TV, or significant property damage should your mobile phone meet a wall!

Granted there is great variation in the risk matrixes in circulation. However, based on the above, you would be hard pressed to assess the risk as anything less than “High” **wink, wink** (a little dramatic, maybe). Onto step 3.



Now, as any health and safety professional well knows, a high risk rating requires immediate attention. It requires controls. Whilst we could all go on a digital detox between now and polling day, this is unlikely. Also, this would mean that you might miss out on some of the nuggets of gold on offer that could help you make a decision on election day.

So, we’d suggest the best form of defence in this case is; Attack. Control the risk by doing what we should all, always, be doing in the workplace. Empowering ourselves!

  • Research what our politicians are saying.
  • Ignore the ‘6 second grab’.
  • Apply an evidence-based approach to critically analyse the manifestos.
  • Consult with others and use the requisite variety of our learned minds, to determine what is best for the country (and not necessarily for ‘me’).
  • Work the statements through to ask, ‘what if’.
  • Importantly, take an interest so that when you do cast your vote, the choice is the most informed one you can make.



No health and safety approach is complete without a review step. Thankfully, when you review your choice after say six months of the new Government being in place, you can draw on the evidence of your analysis to assess whether promises are being honoured. 


There you have it. A health and safety approach to coping with the coming federal election. Now that we think about it, it’s fair to say that this kind of workplace safety approach could be applied to solving many problems, on many fronts. It empowers, promotes critical thinking, and encourages the discourse to find a better way. And just maybe it might pull us back from the brink!

Good luck with your votes!


#fairdinkum #doilookgoodinbrightyellow #mwah

Photo by Hugo Heimendinger from Pexels